Describe your experience with the Equinox. Have you participated in the full marathon, the relay, and/or the ultra? How many times?
I’ve run the marathon three times starting in 2005; the relay (1st leg) once; and the 40 mile ultra course once.
When do you start training for this race? How much of the course itself do you incorporate into your training? How often do you incorporate the Dome into your training?
I usually transition to running in late March, right after the Sonot Kkaazoot. I run portions of the course regularly, including the Dome at least once per week.
What are your key workouts in preparation for this race?
Long runs, hill repeats, tempos, and track intervals. A marathon really requires a combination of all of these workouts. Lately, though, I’ve been incorporating a lot more hill work. The Dome is great, but there are other good climbs in Fairbanks, like the Moose Mountain ski hill.
What’s your favorite thing about this race?
The energy! I’ve never encountered a race with such energy — from runners, volunteers, spectators. It’s just a great time, all the runners in the crisp Fall air, reflecting back on a season of running, thinking ahead to what the coming winter will bring.
What’s your favorite part of the course? Your least favorite part?
I love cresting the top of the Dome and heading out the out-and-back. I usually feel a surge of energy here (though it doesn’t always last). Least favorite part has to be the descent down Henderson road. My
quads are thrashed and I find it hard to keep a quick pace on the pavement.
Describe the best moment you’ve experienced during this race. Describe the worst.
So many good moments that it’s difficult to choose. The worst had to be bonking at mile 24 on Goldhill Road.
Do you consider yourself a competitive runner? What are your running goals/fitness goals?
As someone who started running later in life I continue to be amazed at what the human body can do. I may not get any faster, but I’ll continue to explore the limits.
What’s the best advice or training tips you can share with others who are new to this race?
Here’s my advice for people wanting to transition from the Marathon to the Ultra. (1) slow down. Drop you marathon mile pace by 30-60 seconds. (2) go long. Unless you’re Geoff Roes or Ellie Greenwood,
ultra running is more about time on your feet than about running. Get used to being out for 4, 5, or 6 hours on your long runs, and don’t be afraid to walk. (3) learn how to fuel your body. See if you can eat a PB&J while climbing the Dome.
Have you made any big training errors, or race day flubs that adversely affected your enjoyment or time in this race?
Going out to fast. I know it’s a cliche, but it’s a trap I often fall into. Those first eight miles are such a joy to run that it’s easy toget sucked in to going faster than I should. Best to take a reality check at mile 1 and get settled into a realistic pace.
Any plans on participating in the Equinox this year? This race has been described as one of the most grueling marathons in the country! What keeps you motivated to participate in this event?
Unfortunately, I’ll be out of town for the 2012 event, but I’ll certainly be back again. This is a fantastic race, and though it’s still mostly a local event, I expect we will see increasing participation from outside Fairbanks in years to come.
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